Retell to check meaning

We are used to asking our students to predict what might come next in a story (based on what has happened so far).
For example:
Teacher-What do you think will happen on the next page?
StudentI think Bingo is going to eat the card too.
As the student turns the page she looks at the picture to confirm her prediction, and she easily reads words such as ‘card’ because she expects to see it.

A few students benefit from being asked to retell what already happened at the end of every 1 or 2 pages. The teacher might choose to do this to check that the student is understanding what is read. (Before waiting until the end of the book.)

Some students can read all of the words correctly but they cannot answer questions because they can’t follow the story, or they might partly understand what was read but not enough to tell someone else about it. Other students might need extra opportunities to improve how they speak, (i.e.oral language).

“Mother Chimp will be hungry”, he said. “I will take some fruit down to her.” Little Chimp got some fruit. He climbed down the tree with it.

Teacher– Tell me what just happened. (This is asking the student to recall what was just read, and to choose words / sentences to pass on the information in a way that makes sense.)
Student ALittle Chimp is eating the fruit. (Student A based this incorrect information on the picture of the chimp with the fruit in it’s mouth, not the information in the print.) Little Chimp did eat some fruit but this was earlier in the book.
Teacher– Little Chimp does have the fruit in his mouth. Go back to here (beginning of page) to read why he is going to give it to Mother Chimp. (The teacher is providing more meaning, and is directing the student to the exact location to find some specific information.)
Student AShe’s hungry.
Teacher– Why do you think Little Chimp carried the fruit in his mouth?
Student A– ‘Cos he’s climbing down and hanging on to the branches.
Teacher– Why do you think Mother Chimp didn’t get some fruit herself?
Student AShe had to look after the baby chimp.

After the meaning was re-established, the teacher invited the student to turn the page. Student A was asked to describe what was happening in the next picture before she attempted to read it.


Another example:
Teacher– Tell me what just happened.
Student BMother Chimp get none….food.
Teacher– You’re right. Mother Chimp didn’t get any fruit herself. Who gave her some? (The teacher is confirming the information, modelling sentence structure, and encouraging him to add more detail.)
Student BLittle Chimp.
Teacher– Tell me how Little Chimp got the fruit. (pointing)
Student BLittle Chimp climbed the tree.
Teacher– That’s right. Little Chimp climbed up the tree and then he….. (accompanying gestures)
Student B– …climbed down the tree.
Teacher–  And he carried the fruit in …..
Student B– …in his mouth.

The teacher has to be sensitive to how much intervention / questioning is helpful , or disruptive to maintaining meaning (and interest) for individual students. Gradually the student becomes more independent and can gather up and maintain meaning whilst reading.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *